We're well into the summer tourist season now, but COVID-19 has thrown travellers for a loop. Since many vacations start with a simple online search, Google has been helping relay key info like coronavirus travel advisories and restrictions. Now the company is announcing a few new travel-focused features to make hitting the road easier during the pandemic.
With some areas beginning to lift restrictions, users will start seeing information about travel resuming in specific destinations on Google Search. Coming next week, the percentage of open hotels with availability will be displayed. Searching for select areas will also show the percentage of flights operating based on Google Flights data. And since plans often change quickly in these times, Google is now showing which hotels offer free cancellation on google.com/travel. You'll be able to see similar info about vacation rentals later this month.
Google is trying to make travel a bit less stressful.
When Google shut down its Trips app last year, many were concerned about the company's commitment to innovating in the space. While these new additions aren't anything breathtaking, it's good to see the Google Travel team is still moving on down the road with fresh features. I'm glad that Google is using its resources to improve the user experience in these difficult days — although I'm not sure making it easier for people to travel is the best idea to explore right now.